Analyzing the results from 226 young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 who participated in a randomized clinical trial testing the effectiveness of brief alcohol counseling, the authors found that counseling resulted in long-term reductions in high-risk drinking behaviors and adverse events.
Comparing results of those who received counseling with those who did not, the authors found that counseling resulted in a 40 to 50 percent decrease in alcohol use, 42 percent fewer emergency department visits (103 vs. 177), 55 percent fewer motor vehicle crashes (9 vs. 20), and 23 percent fewer total motor vehicle events (114 vs. 149). They also found significant differences in the number of arrests for controlled substance or liquor violations (0 vs. 8).
The authors suggest that these compelling findings point to the efficacy of brief counseling – one of the most important therapeutic modalities used by physicians. With alcohol-related mortality still the most common cause of death in young adults, the authors recommend primary care providers make counseling for high-risk drinking in young adults a critical priority.
Annals of Family Medicine is a peer-reviewed research journal that provides a cross-disciplinary forum for new, evidence-based information affecting the primary care discipline. Launched in May 2003, the journal is sponsored by six family medical organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Board of Family Practice, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, the Association of Departments of Family Medicine, the Association of Family Practice Residency Directors and the North American Primary Care Research Group. The journal is published six times each year and contains original research from the clinical, biomedical, social and health services areas, as well as contributions on methodology and theory, selected reviews, essays and editorials. A board of directors with representatives from each of the sponsoring organizations oversees Annals. Complete editorial content and interactive discussion groups can be accessed free of charge on the journal's Web site, www.annfammed.org.
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